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World's End Girlfriend; tagging Frogue, but also open!
Topic Started: Aug 14 2016, 01:06 PM (791 Views)
frogue
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[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
In Johnny Ray McKay's mind, he'd always been playing the game of life with a shitty hand. He'd been born poor, born ugly, born stupid, born lazy, and born in Kingman Arizona.

Johnny had long since given up on winning the game. All he'd meant to do was to stay in it as long as he could, and hopefully have a nice enough time along the way, get as many free drinks from the waitresses in the sequined one-pieces as he could. Now, life had taken the 2 and the 7 in his hand, it had torn them to pieces and it had set the pieces on fire.

Had Johnny been a petty person, it would have been some consolation that at least his classmates were equally fucked.

He splashed some water on his face, from one of the big baths in the dark, damp room that he'd woke up in. The water tasted stale, in a way that he hadn't realized water could. He wiped it from his eyes, then wiped his hands on his jeans.

Johnny had never spent much time thinking about his death. He'd had a vague sense that it could happen at any point, but that point had always seemed far in the future, and he'd never really turned his mind to the how of how he'd go. Looking at it now, he supposed this was something of a benediction. He wouldn't have wanted to go by surprise, Johnny decided. It was important, he thought, to know that your last days were your last. You could choose how you would conduct yourself, and make sure you'd be remembered how you wanted to be remembered.

You could get yourself right with God.

The first thing though, was to get outside. Johnny wanted to see where he was, see the sun, see strange birds in strange trees. He wanted to be in nature, not on this horror movie set. Nobody should die indoors.

There was a splash and a scream behind him, and Johnny jumped. He had thought himself alone in here, and the sudden noise sent his heart up into the roof of his mouth. For all his thoughts of being at peace with his imminent departure, the sudden panic that surged through him shamed him. He put a hand on his heart to steady his nerves, and looked for the source of the disturbance.

A girl had risen from one of the tubs.
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frogue
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It was kinda fucked up, Johnny thought, how happy he was to see Raina.

They were trapped in a nightmare, and of course he didn't want her trapped in here too, of course he didn't. Still, the joy that washed over him at the sight of her face refreshed him a million times more than that shitty water had. It was selfish, it was stupid and it was awful to think, but if he was going to die here, he was happy to be doing it with a friend.

Christ, what a thing to be thinking.

The shock of seeing her passed, and Johnny focused on Raina more intently. She was shivering, her voice unsteady, and it looked like she was on the verge of tears. It was a horrible thing to look at, and Johnny dug his nails into his palms, hating himself for his self-centredness, for the glee that he'd felt at seeing a friendly face. Raina shouldn't have to die here too.

Johnny wouldn't've called them friends exactly, but as far as he knew she was one of maybe two people who actually gave a shit about them, and to someone who'd never experienced that, it was something pretty special. Raina was smart, she was pretty, she knew everything there was to know about space and she looked at Johnny like he wasn't completely fucking worthless. She made him feel... he didn't know. Something. Whatever. This wasn't the time to analyse it.

Unthinking, he stepped forward and hugged her, holding her head against his shoulder. She was soaked through.

"It's uhh... gonna be okay?"

Even to his ears the words sounded hollow and shitty, and he regretted them as soon as they came out of his mouth. Of course it wouldn't be okay, and of course she knew that. She wasn't some idiot child who could be fooled with a soothing tone, and frankly Johnny's voice didn't sound all that much less terrified than hers had.

He felt her start, suddenly, and pull away from him, and he whirled around to look where she was now staring. The door had slammed closed behind them, though he hadn't seen who had done it.

Was this it? Were they trapped? He could feel a sucking dread rising in his stomach, and he took a deep, unsteady breath to calm his nerves. What he really wanted right now was a cigarette, and he patted at his pocket in an instant and embarrassing terror at the thought that they might be gone. They were still there, thank Christ, and a full pack too.

Emboldened by this smallest of miracles, he took a step towards the door.

"H-hey, whoever's out there... open up, yeah? We don't wanna hurt you... umm, unless you wanna hurt us? In which case we'll, fuck you up?"

The door looked thick and solid. Johnny hoped it had muffled just how incredibly lame he had sounded.
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frogue
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Realizing they weren't in immediate danger, Johnny felt his courage return. He couldn't put a name to the face he saw peeking out from behind the door, but it was a familiar one nonetheless. Blonde and meek, with an expression like she'd just wet herself in front of the class, everything about her screamed "not a threat".

Without the imminent possibility of death hanging over him, Johnny found himself standing a little straighter, and the tremor to be gone from his voice.

"Yeah, look that's not a good idea, okay? This place is... there's no way out, either, no way to run or anything... I mean I ain't a tactician or anything, yeah, but this plan is..."

The girl was clearly petrified, far more scared than he or Raina seemed, and the last thing she probably needed right now was for him to be insulting her. He remembered seeing her around school, remembered that nervous little face, looking like a strong wind might blow her over, or a fly landing on her table might send her screaming. He pictured her, sitting by herself in this dim, awful room, waiting to die, and thought was just too horrible. Johnny couldn't do it.

Bringing her along mightn't make things easier for him and Raina, but they were probably fucked either way, and he just couldn't leave her here by herself. He couldn't.

Johnny shot Raina a look, imploring. Raina breathed deeply, bit her lip, then nodded. It was all he needed to see.

"Look, come with us, okay? Just tag along until you find somewhere better. I mean, this wet, it's cold, you'll catch your death if nothing else, yeah?" It was a poor choice of words, and Johnny cursed himself.

"Besides, there's safety in numbers, right?"
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frogue
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Johnny shook his head, feeling himself getting pissed off.

“Look…” he faltered for her name “…you. Like, I’m sorry, but that’s some bullshit, okay? You just wanna hide here, hoping someone else is gonna come along and solve everything?”

He didn’t want to upset the poor girl, but at the same time it was better to hurt her feelings than to leave her here alone for someone to come along and hurt her who knows what way.

“Is that how ya solve all your problems? Ya just wait around and hope they’ll fix themselves. I’m sorry, I am, but that is just… look, that’s just fuckin’ stupid, okay?”

The sour, old taste of the water in the baths was still in Johnny’s mouth, and at that moment he wanted nothing more than to clean his teeth. In lieu of that being an option, he pulled his cigarettes from his pocket as he spoke, and tore off the clear plastic packaging from the fresh, unsullied pack. He opened the top, pulled the foil from the front and tossed it into one of the tubs. It bobbed on the surface.

When he flicked the bottom of the pack, one cigarette jumped out further than the others, and Johnny pulled this out of the pack, then turned it around and replaced it, upside down so he knew which one it was. This would be his lucky cigarette, and Johnny would be careful with it. He’d need all the luck he could get.

“Look, you don’t need to be rescued okay, we can rescue ourselves? I mean, you’re lookin’ at Raina fucking Rose here, biggest brain in Arizona! Ya wanna try and find a science question this lady doesn’t know the answer to, we’re gonna be here all night. All day. Ya know, whichever…”

Johnny put a cigarette in his mouth, lit it and inhaled deeply. He felt better instantly, and thanked God for the blessing that was nicotine.

“If ya wanna get out of here, I promise ya your chances are ten thousand times better with us than they are all by your lonesome, and if ya wanna find somewhere to hide then I promise ya we can find ya somewhere better than this shithole, okay?”

Raina was giving him a look of disapproval, but Johnny thought it was more likely regarding the smoking than the plan. He hoped so, anyhow.

He held the pack out to her with a crooked grin, his cigarette hanging from his bottom lip.

“Hey Ray, did ya want one? Risk of dying from lung cancer just got a whole lot lower…”
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frogue
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Raina’s face was a picture of motherly disappointment, which all in all wasn’t bad, Johnny thought. To be disappointed in someone you needed to’ve expected more of them, and the fact that Raina expected anything of him was a positive, as far as he was concerned.

He pocketed the pack with a shrug, then turned back to the girl in the doorway.

“So not that Raina like, y’know, needs a man to validate her opinion or whatever, but she’s right. About everything.”

Johnny gave the girl a little smile, hoping he looked reassuring.

“It’s not great, obviously, but we’re not fucked yet, yeah? We’ve got options. We’ve got, y’know, resources, like she said. Shit, I haven’t even checked my bag yet, right? Maybe there’s a fuckin’… jetski or something in there, yeah? We don’t know.”

The girl was frowning, and Johnny sensed he was losing her. He needed to refocus.

“Look, Raina’s right that we’ll think of something, ‘cause that’s just what people do, yeah? She’s right that we shouldn’t be wasting shit, ‘cause like, obviously, right? And she’s right about getting the fuck outta here.”

He waved an arm expansively, indicating the wet, puddled floor; the creepy baths filled with their ancient water (and who knew just what the fuck the water was filled with); the dark, oppressive atmosphere of the room. Johnny hated the damp. He was a child of the desert, and even the swimming pool changing rooms he hadn’t liked. This? This room was a fucking nightmare.

“Look at the fucking place. I mean if you’re so fucking doom and gloom, what you’re saying to me is that this is the place you wanna die, right? In here? I mean we’re not gonna die, obviously, we got this, but like…”

The thread of the conversation was getting away from him again. Focus, Johnny.

“This places sucks some donkey dick, okay? Fat old hairy donkey dick. Fuck this place, let’s go be somewhere else.”
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frogue
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There was a bag lying in a puddle near Johnny's feet. He hefted it onto his shoulder, offering a silent prayer as he did so that nothing inside be damaged by the water, and that it not be too heavy.

On one count, at least, it seemed God was listening.

He clasped the girl's upper arm as he passed her, heading out the door.

"Good to have you along, kid!"

At some point he would really need to learn her name.

[Johnny Ray McKay continued in Needles and Pins]

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